How to Buy A Condo in Seattle

/ /
Learn my top 5 Diva tips on how to buy a condo in Seattle & take a moment to tour our latest Diva Dwelling in Capitol Hill. 

Thinking of making the jump from renting to owning? For many folks, purchasing a condo is an excellent first leap into Homeownership. So what do you need to know about how to buy a condo in Seattle? 

Kim Colaprete here and I am the Managing Broker of Team Diva at Coldwell Banker Bain. I’ve sold hundreds of condos over the years, and today I want to give you my top Diva tips on how to buy a condo in Seattle. 

Top Five Tips for Buying a Condo in Seattle

  • Find a Realtor who KNOWS Seattle’s Condo Market
  • Get Pre-Approved with A Loan Consultant Who Knows the Condo Market
  • Determine Your Main Focus: Affordability, Ease of Living, Location, and/or Current or Future Investment
  • Current or Future Investment 

But first, let’s explore why do people choose condos over townhouses or smaller single-family homes?

Why do People Choose Condos

First, let’s talk about the four main motivations that home buyers have for choosing to buy a condo over a single-family home: 

  1. Affordability
  2. Ease of Living
  3. Location
  4. Current or Future Investment 

Now let’s dig into our Top Five Tips on How to Buy a Condo in Seattle and get you into a space that will be just your home.


Top 5 Tips on How to Buy a Condo in Seattle 

Here are my top 5 tips on How to Buy a Condo in Seattle and ensure your first leap into homeownership is a success

Tip #1: Find a Realtor who KNOWS Seattle’s Condo Market. 

For the BEST chance of a smooth, stress-free transaction, you need to choose the right Realtor. Your Realtor needs to know how to navigate the ins and outs of working with a seller, an HOA, and a management company all at the same time! There are numerous pitfalls to buying and selling a condo if you don’t know or understand the lay of the land.

Questions for a Potential REALTOR

When interviewing a Realtor, it’s important to ask them these two questions:

  1. Do they have experience listing and selling condos in the area?
  2. Do they have direct experience listing or selling a home in the various condo buildings where you are looking? 

Tip #2: Get Pre-Approved with A Loan Consultant Who Knows the Condo Market

This is very similar to choosing the right Seattle Realtor. There are lending rules that are specific to purchasing in a condo building. You want to make sure you are working with a loan consultant that can communicate the financial pros and cons of purchasing a condo and has the ability to close the loan quickly. Especially in our fast-paced Seattle real estate market. 

Be aware that depending on your financial situation, there may be some extra expenses along the way. There may be added fees or an increase in your interest rate that may be incurred when purchasing a condominium.

Tip #3: Determine Your Main Focus

Remember those four main motivations we discussed earlier? (Here’s a quick refresher: 1. Affordability 2. Ease of Living 3. Location 4. Current or Future Investment.) 

Choosing one or two as the focus of your search will help ensure your success. For example: If your primary focus is Ease of Living, you may want to only focus on buildings with garage parking, concierge services, and in-house amenities like a gym. But if Location is your primary motivation, you may choose to look at a diverse range of condos, high rises, lofts, and 1920s buildings. Choose your focus and go find yourself a condo to buy!

Tip #4: Read ALL the HomeOwner Association Documents Provided 

Once you find a condo to buy, it’s time for the most important step. When you own a condo, you basically own “from the walls in,” as we say. This means that any information communicated by the seller may only be focused on what is happening INSIDE the condo.

But what about the rest of the building? Everything that happens in a condo building ultimately impacts you, your ownership, and your investment.

This is why you should NEVER purchase a condo without thoroughly reading the Resale Certificate and ALL of the Homeowners Association or HOA documents available to you.

These documents will give you the best picture of how the HOA is run, for example. It will also tell you what the rental rules are, and what the pet restrictions may be. You’ll also be able to find out if there are any pending assessments, major building work coming down the pike, and if there are any pending lawsuits. These things could all impact your ability to purchase the condo in one way or another. 

Here is a quick list of the documents you will want to review

  • Resale Certificate signed by the owner
  • Reserve Study
  • Two Years of Financials
  • Current Budget
  • Two Years of HOA Board Meeting Notes
  • Two Years of Owners Meeting Notes
  • House Rules and Regulations
  • Any Addendums, Attachments, or Amendments

For more information on this subject, read our blog post “Reviewing the Resale Certificate When Buying a Condo in Seattle.” 

And last but not least: 

Tip #5: Don’t Skip the Inspection 

You may only own from “the walls in,” but that does not mean you want to be careless about investigating what you are buying. Inspecting a condo is just as important as inspecting any single-family home. 

Tell-tale signs of bigger building issues can start in one person’s unit. It could be a failed window seal, slow water flow in a bathroom, or moisture spots on a ceiling, for example. All could be signs of bigger building issues. Do your due diligence and get that inspection!

Here is a blog to help you better understand what is involved in an inspection. 


More Details About the Seattle Condo We Mentioned in The Video

Meridian Capitol Hill Condo Open Living Area

The Meridian is one of Capitol Hill’s High Rise Condo Buildings. This 1-bedroom condo hits those 4 motivation points for a buyer: It’s affordable with a list price of $419,00. The Meridian condo building definitely offers ease of living, especially since this building has concierge services and tons of amenities. It’s in a stellar location just blocks from Downtown Seattle and the heart o

f Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine Corridor. And finally, this condo would make a great future rental. Although the rental limit in this building has already been reached, there could be an opportunity to convert this home back to a rental down the road.

And voilà: You have a condo that hits all four points on the spectrum. Great! Now you found a cool condo like this one and you are ready to take the plunge! What do you do next?

All the Details About the Condo

  • MLS #1916042
  • Address: 1420 Terry Ave #707
  • Listing Brokers: Kim V Colaprete and Michael Jouver
  • Square Footage: 624
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Parking: One Secure Garage Spot 

More details on the listing page >

Want to find out more about the Capitol Hill Condo market? Check out our blog post “What you can buy for under $500,000 in Seattle’s Capitol Hill?”


Thank You For Learning About How to Buy A Condo in Seattle

Meridian Capitol Hill Condo Front Entry

There you have it! Now you know this Diva’s 5 Tips for How to Buy a Condo in Seattle. You know that first, you’ll need to find a realtor who knows Seattle’s condo market super well. Then you’ll need to get pre-approved by a loan consultant who also knows Seattle’s condo market extremely well. Third, you need to determine your main focus aka “wants” in a condo—affordability, ease of living, location, and current or future investment are all things to consider. You also need to make sure that you read ALL the Homeowner Association documents provided. And finally: Do not skip the inspection! 

Five Tips on How to Buy a Condo in Seattle

  • Find a Realtor who KNOWS Seattle’s Condo Market
  • Get Pre-Approved with A Loan Consultant Who Knows the Condo Market
  • Determine Your Main Focus: Affordability, Ease of Living, Location, and/or Current or Future Investment
  • Current or Future Investment 

Below we have some more information to help you on your condo home buying journey.

More Information To Help You Buy a Condo in Seattle

Several years ago we wrote a blog to help people understand what it takes to buy a condo in Seattle. Here are the main links in the blog to help you on your journey.

Let us know how we can help you in your home buying journey. Is it time for you to buy a home in Seattle? And is a condo the right option for you? Send us a message in the contact form below and a real human will get back to you. We hope this How to Buy a Condo in Seattle blog helped.

 

Message Us

Want to chat about something you see or just need an incredibly gifted Seattle real estate team? Send us a quick message!